FAQs about Telehealth/Teletherapy
(1) What is telehealth/teletherapy?
It’s a way for you to communicate with a healthcare professional/therapist via a secure (HIPAA-compliant) live video conferencing platform without having to be in the same physical location.
(2) How do I know that my privacy is being upheld when I choose to have a telehealth session?
The same system that we use to schedule sessions, keep track of your notes and billing is the same one that we use to facilitate telehealth sessions. This means that the same safety protocols that keep those records safe as per HIPAA regulations also keep your conversation with your therapist secure. We don’t record your session. Your therapist is in a private room at their professional office or home office when they conduct your telehealth session. On your therapist’s end, the degree of privacy that you enjoy when you do a teletherapy session is not much different from doing an in-person session.
On your end, it will be important for you to find a place of privacy to be during your session. There are several places and ways you can do this including, finding a room in your home or place of work you can shut yourself in alone for the duration of your session, sit in your car, find a quiet, private place outside, use earphones to mask one end of the conversation.
(3) Why should I do teletherapy over an in-person session?
Teletherapy is an ideal option for clients to maintain consistent attendance necessary to attain desired therapeutic outcomes. It’s particularly ideal for those situations when “life happens”. It may be a good option for you if you have difficulty making it to the office for any reason including, not feeling well, during inclement weather, lack of transportation, time constraints, and currently for the purpose of social distancing and self-quarantine. Teletherapy may also be ideal for you if you struggle with social anxiety, have a young child at home that you regularly care for or you’re having trouble finding a way to fit therapy into your busy schedule.
(4) Does insurance cover teletherapy?
Some insurance companies do cover teletherapy including Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) PPO, the insurance company that all of our therapists are in-network with. BCBS sometimes covers telehealth sessions, but whether they do depends on your specific plan. Some insurers may only cover in-person counseling sessions, but not cover telehealth ones unless they’re deemed medically necessary. We highly recommend that you reach out to your insurance company to verify whether they’ll cover telehealth before your session.
However, during this pandemic, BCBS of Louisiana has lifted restrictions on coverage for telehealth therapy sessions for its members. At this time telehealth sessions will be covered the same as in-person sessions would be despite your plans typical coverage.
(5) Do I have to do teletherapy forever once I give it a try…even if I find that I don’t like it?
No. While we think that you’ll find teletherapy to be a fresh and convenient alternative to in-person therapy, we realize that it’s not necessarily ideal for everyone. At this time some of our therapists who offer teletherapy sessions are also still offering in-person sessions here at our office in Metairie. Our therapists would be more than happy to alternate where your session takes place (whether in office or virtually) depending on your needs. Our plan here at Magnolia Family Counseling is to offer this method of therapy for the time being so we can ensure continuity of care to our clients during this pandemic, but we will return to our standard in-person modality once it is deemed safe for all to do so.
We think that you will find teletherapy to be a welcome approach to counseling and to fit well into your schedule. Please reach out to our intake coordinator at (504) 434-3577 with any additional questions that you may have about this approach to delivering therapy or to get scheduled for a session!